2013 Deck – Week 49

It is almost shameful that I’ve lived all of my life upon these shores (with the few exceptions of travelling abroad), and the majority of my time has been spent in the City, when there are so many beautiful places to see across our land, but that is how life is, and I am thankful that I got to see the little that I have seen.

I’ve seen the Rainforest and the Rupununi Savannahs, the Pakaraima mountains, Orinduik Falls and Kaieteur Falls, but there is so much more to see…

Recently I was fortunate to be among a group of people who had dinner at Fort Island, photographically it wasn’t a great trip, but for me it was almost priceless.

My wife and I joined more than a hundred other patrons who dined outside the Court of Policy on the Island, and were entertained by the legendary Dave Martins and his friends.

I did manage to take some photos of the fort, but finding one without a dozen people in it was tough 🙂

I hope you like this one:



Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

Sint Maarten Day 7, and Fort St. Louis

The first shot of the day was what might have been called the “Catch of the Day”, Justin (the son of the people at whom we are staying here) and some of his friends had done some spear fishing the previous day and was about to prepare the catch for a Soup.

Catch of the Day

During the morning, we took a walk down Simpson Bay Road, there were a few older buildings along the road that I had wanted to photograph, although I took a few,there are still a few more that I want a snap at  🙂

on Simpson Bay Road, Sint Marten

The real object of our walk was to get a closer look at the Simpson Bay Market, a nice structure on the Simpson Bay Lagoon across from the Police Station and next to the Coast Guard.  I wanted to see what was there to photograph, and my wife wanted to see if any stalls were open, there was only one stall open at that time 🙂 (of course I am not counting the bar or food shop)

Simpson Bay Market

And a short walk to the Shipwrecked Pirate, a nice little shop, good footwear, and some unique gift ideas I think, but then I’m a man, what do I know, except that the barrel outside looked nice  🙂  If only it had rum in it, and a tap  🙂

at The Shipwrecked Pirate Shop

Afterwards, we were taken to do a little climbing, I can’t remember exactly where, I think it was near Baie Rouge, but it had a beautiful view as we climbed and the destination was also a spectacular view at two “seaside”caves that let water into a nestled area, but I wasn’t climbing down there!

The View

For the two caves I tried an HDR image, I didn’t get it perfect, the image has some rotational misalignment, but I liked the scene so much, I decided to keep the resulting image anyway.

HDR - Double arched natural entranceway

We then went on into Marigot (the capital of St Martin, French West Indies) for a short walk around before heading up to the fort, which was the next attraction for us.  Marigot also has more that I’d like to photograph, time permitting.

La Vie en Rose, Marigot, St Martin
Bandstand / Gazebo, The Marketplace, Marigot, St Martin
The Marketplace, Marigot, St Martin

Then we left Marigot (not really left it, since it’s a short drive up the hill to the entrance) to see the Fort Saint Louis, or rather the ruins of the fort, I can only imagine what it would look like on a stormy day (not that I really want to be there when a storm hits).

The Dungeons?
Fort Saint Louis, St Martin.
The requisite Canon

Of course, there are a lot more photos than these added to the Sint Maarten album on my site.  Be sure to check them out.  The parting shot is one taken as we were exiting the Fort proper.

Vive Le France

On Her Majesty’s Sovereign Soil

Leaving Sint Maarten (St Martin actually, since that's the French side you're seeing)

Couldn’t help the James Bond reference in the title, it just sounded better than “We went to Anguilla”.  I suppose, like most Caribbean islands, it is a nice place to visit, the people are nice and friendly, the weather is a mix of sunshine (Boom Boom) and some rain, the beers are cold and the beaches are gorgeous.  You walk off the ferry and you feel you’ve stepped out of the current century and back into the latter half of the last one.  That’s not to say that they are backwards, far from it, it’s just the “feel” of the place, with some of the older type architecture, the local accent that has a lyrical beauty to it, and the sun and palms trees do carry you back to when most movies used tropical settings for their “exotic” feel.  If I had stepped off of the ferry in a white shirt, fedora and rugged briefcase, I might have expected to be met by Felix Lighter.

The dock/pier at Blowing Point, Anguilla

We went across by “ferry”, not the normal name I would use for a boat the size we went in.  A nice small twelve passenger boat that I would more call a Water Taxi than a ferry, especially with 450 horse power pushing it.  The captain and crew (well only one on board, but also those at the ports) of the GB Express were the epitome of island friendliness, making the trip across the small stretch of sea very enjoyable.

In true island fashion, when you reach port and ask about a car to rent, you are not reffered to an agency, just simply “go ask for Andy” 🙂  And Andy delivers, a nice enough car (with a few dings and dents for character) and a map of the island, and some advice, like – remember to drive on the Left.   If you are in town, the capital being called The Valley, and you ask someone about an establishment for eating, they tell you “go to Lisa’s”, well, we didn’t get the opportunity to go to Lisa’s but I am sure that the advice would have paid off.

At the Golf Club

We took a little drive around the Golf Course, and admired all the nice work being done there, it is still being developed,but you can still book your Tee time and play a round of 18  🙂

A Bridge in the Golf Course

After the Golf Course, we drove on around the western tip of the island, or the West End and along the norther coast, where we stopped to take a photo of  the Road Bay and Sandy Ground from Back Street.

Road Bay, as seen from Back Street

From there we drove into the, capital “The Valley”, it has some nice quaint places.  The whole island has a laid back feel to it, no hustle, no bustle, no major traffic, just nice and relaxing.

Wall Blake House, The Valley, Anguilla

Even though there were many places I would have loved to have seen, there is no way you can really see and enjoy an island in one day, no matter what anyone says, and I just had to see and experience the beach at Shoal Bay East, my brother-in-law swears it’s the best beach in the world, and it was so good, we really didn’t want to leave.

Shoal Bay East

Shoal Bay Beach

And a brief stop at Scilly Cay to allow me to snap this photograph…

Scilly Cay with Scrub Island in the b ackground

I took some more photos along the way back to the ferry, but it was time to go home and enjoy another day’s end.  Click on the photos to get all 36 images from this day.

The Celebrity Solstice sails into the night

Go to France!!!

Growing up I frequently heard the expression “Go to France”, it is an expression of disbelief, and equates to the more popular Guyanese expression “carry yuh rass”;  when you tell someone in Guyana something that they instinctively and emphatically believe is untrue (without copious amounts of proof), that’s the phrase you are most likely to hear.  So if someone tells me that the sun rises in the west, I will tell them “go to France”, or the more colourful alternative already mentioned here  🙂

Sint Maarten is commonly and correctly referred to as the “Dutch side” of the island, but only the residents of the Dutch side and other unsuspecting foreigners like myself would ever refer to the second half of the island as the “French side”, to the residents and especially the Gendarmes (police) and other officials, when you cross the border point, you are in France!  The province of St. Martin, France; not the French side, but France!  So today I got to “go to France”, finally.  Well, we actually didn’t visit a lot of places, but we did a bit of driving to the scenic spots.  No offence to the French, but I like the Dutch Side better, it’s more Caribbean and has more character.

I also went back to Back Street, Philipsburg; and then to a swim in the ocean and another chance to see a gorgeous sunset, both of the latter done right from the back of the house.  I will miss this most, I think  🙂

Catholic Church, St Martin.
St Martin (Radison Resorts down below)
Flying French Side
Baie Orientale
View from Pedro's, Baie Orientale

And this is only a fraction of the new images  🙂  see other “French Side” photos and more from Philipsburg and the Beach at Simpson Bay at the site, just click on any of the images above.

Just one more image… end of the Fourth Day in Sint Maarten 🙂

Sunset at Simpson Bay

Philipsburg and the Bays

Sunday, we were taken on a “crash” tour across some of the island… It was quite comprehensive, but everything was so amazing, I was left dazzled half the time  🙂   The capital of Sint Maarten is Philipsburg, and I want to see how much more of it I can see while I am here, very interesting place!

A view down to the beach from in front of the Philipsburg Courthouse

It would have been nice to get a reverse view of this, but some people parked their hideous cars in front of the courthouse  🙂  Click on the photo and you’ll see some more of the photos, including the courthouse,and a view down one of the picturesque streets of Philipsburg.

And there is just something about these “clocks” that begs to be photographed.  I saw at least two of them in the streets of Philipsburg so far…

Clock on a post, in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

And the Bays!!! Who knew there were so many?  I still haven’t tagged the images properly simply because I can’t identify them myself (don’t worry, I’m on the case! they’ll be tagged shortly).  The have Simpson Bay, Mullet Bay, Cole Bay, Oyster Bay (I think), and I do believe the list goes on further.

Click on the photos to go to the site and see a few others.

And of course, we have the obligatory seaside people photos…  I tried a few things different for these two, so they ended up in my sepia and black & white collections.

One of my daughter Miriam and her Uncle Darren, that is more of a warm tone photo than a sepia, but I put it in the Sepia album just the same.

And the other is the black and white, of my wife Maureen and daughter Miriam,  I rather like this one, not big on details, but it captures the “feel” rather nicely.

And there ends the second day of my stay in Sint Maarten.  Don’t forget to click on the Bay or Philipsburg photos to see other photos  from the trip.